Modern starting system for boat race mooted

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has directed organisers of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race to set up a modern starting system for this year’s event.

Speaking at a meeting of the Nehru Trophy Boat Race (NTBR) Society here the other day, Dr. Isaac called upon the Irrigation Department, one of the main organisers of the race, to take a final decision on it in a week.

Officials said that they had already shortlisted a couple of starting systems. “We will conduct extensive trials before finalising a starting system,” said an official.

The move comes after foul start played spoilsport in the event held at Punnamada Lake in August 2017. A technical glitch in the electronic starting system had delayed the final of the boat race for more than one hour. The races in other categories were also delayed.

It has also been decided to introduce a modern tracking and timing system to determine the race results more precisely. Officials said the system was approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and used in several international athletic events. A trial of the new photo finish system has already been conducted.

The official said that the new system would provide the results in minutes, seconds and microseconds. As part of it, cameras capable of taking 3,000 to 5,000 frames a second would be installed at the finishing point, officials said.

The Minister further said that a temporary VIP gallery would be constructed for the race to be held on August 11.

“Sachin Tendulkar will be the chief guest for this year’s event. We have also invited Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister of State for Tourism K.J. Alphons. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the Kerala Boat Race League,” Dr. Isaac added.

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